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    • This phrase in today’s WSJ article “New Designs for Aging”’(p. R6) caught my eye. Isn’t this an aim for Cake? 🧐

      Hmmm...

      I wonder if there is a small investor pocket that looks for such top-design projects for the aging population...? I think Cake could qualify as a top design!

      @Chris

      (PS Don’t judge me for subscribing to the mess that is the WSJ. I do it so my mother and I have something to talk about together.)

    • Isn’t this an aim for Cake? 🧐

      It is! However, I'm reading the book Salt, Fat, Sugar and the team that developed Lunchables said what consumers say they want and what they actually buy/use are completely different.

      Lunchables was conceived as a way to boost flagging bologna sales and they eventually stumbled upon adding cheese, Ritz Crackers, and packaging to make an unlikely mega hit for young mothers. The mothers had made it completely clear they didn't want their kids eating bologna anymore and wanted healthy foods, but what they actually bought was Lunchables.

      I wonder every day why Cake grows so slowly. Will there be a tipping point? Is it simply network effects, where people go where all the action is? Are we missing features like private messaging, multiple photos per post, AI that better suggests conversations? Does it take billions like it did Tik Tok to get it off the ground?

      The thing is I visited a venture capitalist who had invested across 20-something attempts at what Cake is doing and kept a list of 112 efforts, and none were able to get sustained traction, but Facebook Groups are exploding. Some had a ton of money behind them, like Google+. So I dunno. What think ye?

    • I don't know that the term 'deeper interactions' can successfully apply to anything so virtual, ephemerally elusive by nature, yet so visually/textually tattooed in the public's brains (by means of web media), such as social media. Every possible topic has been beaten to death, it becomes tiresome, after a while.

      For interactions to gain more meaning at personal level there ought to be something real, a component that is absent. The true giant social media 'industry' - yes it's exactly that a money making machine - learned very well to blend giving user's what they want, even when users don't know what they wanted. But I think it also created monstrosities, psychologically speaking, it enables false, or at least very superficial associations, and removes all checks and balances a normal human relation would have.

      On the reverse side of the coin, I recall how shocked I was when reading (a while back) how well certain online games have become true 'societies' with real characters personified, currencies, etc.

      Edit. A nice regional expression some french relative explained to me once. 'T'as mal ou?' seems to suffice as 'Hello' aging acquaintances or elderly neighbors, when they meet. It translates loosely to 'where are you hurting today?' in a kind of funny intended approach. And it's a kind of emphatic expression of communion. This is more of what the world needs, in a deep sense, by it basically being sincere and unpretentious.

    • I am the first to admit I have a very limited view of what Cake is (self-imposed), so take this with a grain (or shaker full) of salt...

      If Cake was to focus on an over 50 crowd, would you be able to attract more investment interest because YOU are that demographic? You might not find yourself battling against all the young’uns...?

      If Cake was to focus on an over 50 crowd, there are some emerging and some well-heeled groups out there that might be interested in partnering—I bet each of them has a half-assed communication platform that doesn’t really work very well. Could you could give them a slice of Cake for their purposes? Some groups that jump to mind: Growing Bolder, Road Scholar, Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes. I’m sure there are more. They might really get excited about the whole panel idea, too. (Notice I am quietly suggesting you partner with groups that have an educational component—focus on the people In the demographic who are curious and intelligent like yourself.) The article suggests there are emerging products and services that are starting to serve this demographic differently - they might be good partners, too.

      I also agree with @Dracula and I’ve said this before—consider adding a f2f component. There are so many ways you could go with that. It would set Cake apart from all the other platforms. Maybe partnering with Senior Centers? Maybe creating regional topics/panels? There are a lot of different models out there you could look at. There are sooo many over-50s who are on their own and crave friendship. An online platform can enhance an ongoing friendship, but doesn’t really work very well in establishing a friendship...

    • @lidja my view is we are wiser persons whose hearts aren't old. Just look how @Chris isn't hesitating to break legs riding exotic motorcycles and locations and am certain many here don't feel old per se. Hell, I'll not accept it even when I'll have to crawl. Having said that I will paraphrase someone who sometime admonished me about 'not behaving my age' whom I don't agree with, but please take the above words with a grain of salt.

      What is @Chris trying to do with this Cake? Make money? Connect people? Amass wisdom and knowledge? The design ought to account for the criteria, and priorities, but bottom line is that it will be, like everything else HTML some code on the world wide web allowing humans to interact. Usually in writing, yet that can get cold blooded unless prolific narrators or orators are involved. I am curious what this dream is about..

    • I wonder every day why Cake grows so slowly. Will there be a tipping point? Is it simply network effects, where people go where all the action is? Are we missing features like private messaging, multiple photos per post, AI that better suggests conversations? Does it take billions like it did Tik Tok to get it off the ground?

      The thing is I visited a venture capitalist who had invested across 20-something attempts at what Cake is doing and kept a list of 112 efforts, and none were able to get sustained traction, but Facebook Groups are exploding. Some had a ton of money behind them, like Google+. So I dunno. What think ye?

      In very basic terms, every successful place needs to have

      - a compelling reason to (first) visit
      - a compelling reason to stay (or revisit, whatever makes sense in context)
      - a compelling reason to not leave

      and all of that needs to be the case not only in absolute terms, but also relatively speaking.

      Last year, a new Spanish restaurant opened in town. The fact that we didn't have that type of restaurant before, combined with the fact that I like to support local businesses instead of having to drive somewhere else, was a compelling reason to first visit with friends. The fact that their special offer of different varieties of fish with patatas fritas and a large side of salad was great and not too expensive was a compelling reason to revisit with family. The fact that, this time, the service was chaotic and the paella completely unsalted sadly was a compelling reason to leave and support other businesses instead. Last but not least, our global pandemic was yet another reason to not give them another chance this year (so far).

      So, why should anyone visit Cake? There are some great people on the platform - but that's not a valid argument because no one knows that before their visit. There are some great conversations, but those exist elsewhere, too. There's a section for "featured" conversations, but I often don't know why any of them are featured with just one or two short replies. Creating an account is somewhat easy - but logging in to Facebook by just tapping the blue 'f' on your phone's home screen is easier.

      Why should they stay on Cake? Perhaps, this time, existing people do matter - but there aren't as many as in other places, just like there aren't as many ongoing conversations as on Reddit, or Facebook, or elsewhere.

      Why should they not leave Cake? Being relatively troll-free is a plus, for sure, but perhaps there are other things that are off-putting to people? I know I have voiced some concerns over time, such as conversations ending up about completely different topics than initially intended, or always the same people participating in conversations.

      All things considered, I'm still here (although admittedly much less active than just some months ago), but I currently wouldn't ask anyone to join simply because I couldn't tell them a compelling reason why. That doesn't mean that there's no compelling reason for anyone, right now, to visit.

      If you have a Spanish restaurant, you don't need everyone to visit - you just need someone to visit and stay. You could try and convince people who don't generally visit restaurant - or those that do but don't like Spanish food - but it would be much easier to cater to those people who already like dining out, and/or those who are interested in mediterranean lifestyle.

      Perhaps focusing on a specific group of people as @lidja suggested would be a good idea - following up with (previously) active users of the platform might be another.

    • Thank you. Living here in the Silicon Valley as I do and being involved in ADVrider and Flickr (somewhat), I think the golden rule of social networks is content discovery. If people can find that, they will come and stay and the moment they can't, they drift away.

      That is why Medium has a team of 37 people who just solicit content for the platform, why Snap and TikTok spent billions on content generation, why Facebook seeded Facebook Live with $50 million to content creators, and why YouTube spends so many billions paying content creators every year.

      It isn't as if they had powerful taglines that made people say this is the place for them. Also, you can promote yourself and your business on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn, and you can't on Cake. That's a powerful draw and also where their money is made.

    • One of Cake's problem areas is that most of its "topics" are wide open to the public.

      Both with G+ and (I think) with Facebook groups, there is the ability to limit the conversation to those who are "friendly." (I've never had a FB account, so I am guessing a bit here. My late wife did have an FB account and I added some things including her obituary after her death but I have not been using her account.)

      To illustrate: The Democratic National Convention is not going to allow people wearing Trump 2020 apparel or a MAGA hat into their convention hall. (And Vice Versa) And most of us would think to ourselves, "But of course they would not."

      Yet on Cake, it is impossible to do this unless the moderators decide to seclude a topic such as "Delta CS classes".

      Not everyone is prepared to engage with those who have opposite viewpoints. To "survive" on Cake, one has to be prepared to accept all dissent as long as it is done with civility. There are certain views which I have which appear to be in the minority on Cake (and some views which I don't hold which some seem to suspect me of holding) and because of that I am from time to time "confronted" by dissent. I have no problem with that. If I did have a problem with that, I would have quit Cake a long time ago. But not everyone is like me. Because there are many people who don't want to have to "take on the world", Cake is not as acceptable to them as those social platforms which allow them to associate only with those who agree with them.

      The moderators of Cake have done a relatively good job of dealing with any troll like behavior. I think that there is only one Cake user who is on my "ignore" list. (I can't be sure of that because if there is a way to review my ignore list, I am not familiar with it.)

      Update: I located the Ignore List for my Cake account and I was right. There is only one Cake account on it.

    • Interesting perspective, @lidja

      Traditional media (radio & TV) eschews the over 55 crowd. The reason being is that most of us are set in our ways, and for any marketing to matter, those purchasing habits have been long ingrained.

      At some point, Cake will need to market to a demographic that's *not* on FB, Insta, or any of the other mega places to interact. I surmise that marketing is going to require advertising at some juncture.

    • The reason I like Cake is I feel everyone on here, at least the active users, are interested in delving deeper into topics that they are passionate about. I think Cake is a place that more people would like provided they find it and give it a shot.

      I also think Cake has the potential to provide people with a better newsfeed than on Facebook or Twitter. I use Facebook to connect with friends and family; I use Twitter to post news and updates and also find news and updates; but I'm not as drawn to the news feed aspect. Facebook's feed is fine in that I'm getting updates from friends and family, but it doesn't do much for me with news. As for Twitter, there are accounts I follow, but rather than scrolling through my feed to see what they've tweeted, I just go straight to their home page and see what they've been tweeting.

      As for Cake, I like the newsfeed aspect a lot better than Twitter's because everything isn't so bite sized. There is a lot more contained in a Cake post than a single tweet. And yet, I like Twitter's microblogging aspect. It just doesn't make for the best news feed, imo.

      So, I think while I think having great conversations and avoiding trolls is a big plus of Cake and certainly something that can separate it from other sites, if we get enough people writing about different topics and sharing what they are passionate about, then the personalized newsfeed aspect for Cake becomes a lot more attractive than it already is. So, content is key as @Chris said.

      One other thing I do like about Cake is the wide range of ways to react to a post. If you are reading something in Apple News for example, you can't really react to it. Whereas with Cake, there are 60 ways to react to something. So, interacting with your news feed in a more personable way is an aspect of Cake that I think has potential to get people to stay. Provided they find Cake in the first place.

    • One of our biggest innovations was panels, but in our small community we got some pretty forceful pushback against them so we haven’t been doing them. There was a feeling of exclusion.

      I always felt that was a matter of scale. People would see the value if our traffic got high.

      Slack rolled them out recently and I notice they are a hit in big companies. You set up channels where a select group can post in the channel but everyone can read. Twitter is working on them too.

    • Well, if I recall, the big hype with panels was getting notable people on panels and allowing people to follow the discussion. I think if we can get some notable people and experts in a certain field together in a panel having a conversation, the rest of the Cake community won't feel excluded. I think where the exclusion comes in is when panels aren't comprised of experts but just random users. Or at least seemingly random users.

      This is all to say that I still believe the panels have potential provided we can get some high level experts onboard.

    • Although this "riffs" off what Slamdunk wrote, it is more intended for Chris.

      In order for Panels to work, you are going to have to do a little surveying of those who visit cake often. You will need to discover what really interests most of those who are reading Cake often. Just because someone is an expert on a given subject doesn't mean that there is sufficient interest among the current Cake readers to make the panel work.

      I offer, as an example, my knowledge of the Bible. It seems pretty clear that at the moment there are not very many people on Cake who would want to read an on-going Bible discussion. Thus, the depth of my knowledge of the subject would not cause a panel on that subject to generate enthusiasm.

      Another point is one that I used to make to my clients frequently when I ran a consultancy. People don't really care whether an "expert" can rock and roll, they want to learn how they can rock and roll.

    • One of our biggest innovations was panels, but in our small community we got some pretty forceful pushback against them so we haven’t been doing them. There was a feeling of exclusion.

      I don't want to offend anyone involved (now, or previously), but I think that being honest about this is the best way to move forward: at least my personal problem - and I assume many others share this opinion - was never with the idea of panels in general, but with the specific examples of panels we got.

      Scripted conversations, where two parties fire off posts much more quickly than they could realistically have been written, followed by complete silence after half an hour, does not make a good panel that is interesting to join, especially for those of us that happen to live in a different time zone.

      Similarly, grouping a random few of us into a conversation, whether that's by a "cold invitation" out of nowhere, or by posting a random topic some days in advance that is then followed up by a question only somewhat related, more likely than not does not lead to an interesting conversation that others might want to follow.

      I'm convinced that panels as you implemented them are a great tool in some context. It's just the case that simply labeling a conversations as a "panel" does not make it better than it already was before. :)

    • @slamdunk406’s mention of newsfeed is intriguing to me—could Cake have standing panels (new term I guess-haha) for some of the more popular topics so that those panels post current issues?

      For instance, I listen to a few podcasts, but I can’t follow all the topics I’m interested in online anywhere. (I suppose I could set up a google news search for some stuff, but I have too many interests to do that effectively.)

      What if, say, I was on a panel with a couple of other people who are also interested in what’s happening in Utah (for instance) and I had a personal google news search set up for that, and then posted interesting stuff about Utah with a couple sentences from my local perspective in that panel? The others in the panel would also do that. Then we’d sort of have a set of “hosts” for that topic, and a flow of what’s important or interesting about Utah always churning...whenever there was something that seemed interesting. Cake people could still spin off on that content (or any other topics) and post thread content about whatever strikes their fancy... The panel conversation would be a rich content-centric collection of what panelists have decided is important, while the threads would be where a lot of discussion takes place...?

      Would an idea like this ramp up content creation? Encourage interesting conversations? Attract more participation? Provide a common base of knowledge? Establish a standard for thoughtful sourcing?

    • awesome article

      Cake could have an ad-review panel, and figure out how ad placement would work best without being totally annoying.

    • I hadn’t even thought of a podcast in relation to Cake.

      I was thinking more like using panels to generate constant current content. For instance, say if a healthcare pro and an internationally-based member and a business person were interested in sitting on a panel and post thoughtful Covid-related sources (articles, podcasts, opinion pieces, personal accounts, etc.) - that would mean there’s always something current about the issue on the platform. (Obviously, Covid is a terrible example because conversations are happening about it everyday with out any outside encouragement, but hopefully you catch my drift.)

      Chances are, there are SMEs or very interested persons who tune into certain topics because they are already interested. Why not use panels as a way for them to actively contribute? (The reason a panel might work well is because an actual conversation about the topic(s) would hopefully happen in a regular thread on Cake—not on the panel. The panelists would just use the panel to post current/interesting info that could then be fodder for open discussions. The panel would be like a living knowledge base for all those interested in the topic. It would be interesting to see if such panel-generated content might encourage lurkers to participate more, since hopefully the panel would establish a tone of neutrality while also indirectly creating a sense of interest/curiosity...)

      In the past, Cake seems to have had specific individual content creators. After awhile, it becomes so apparent that that’s what’s going on, that their voices become less important somehow. (Is it just me?) With panels, that might not happen so much.

      (Surely this is happening in a similar way on some other platform I don’t know about...?)

      @Chris - this makes me curious about what the most followed topics are. Is there a list somewhere?

    • I don't know if there is a way to discover what the most followed topics are but Apple has 1012 followers and I don't know of another topic that has that many.

    • This sounds sort of like a Cake-based RSS feed. The difference I suppose would be that it's curated by humans and centers around topics rather than a specific website.